Your relationship with God is secure because, through Christ, you are forgiven and accepted by God. However, God also desires for you to walk closely with Him and communicate with Him throughout each day so you can experience His love.
When we choose to sin, our relationship (our position as God's children) is not affected, but our fellowship with Him is interrupted. Sin keeps us from experiencing God's love. Sin is more than cheating, lying, or immoral behavior, etc. These actions are only the results of an attitude of sin. A simple definition of sin is: doing what we want instead of what God wants — both in actions and attitudes.
All of us, therefore, need to experience God's forgiveness of our sinful attitudes and actions.
The basis of God's love and forgiveness
"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit." (1 Peter 3:18)
Christ's death is the basis for forgiveness to bring us into a proper relationship with God. His death is also the basis for forgiveness in our daily fellowship with God. Read the following passage:
"You were dead in sin and your sinful desires were not yet cut away. Then He gave you a share in the very life of Christ, for He forgave all your sin, and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of His commandments which you had not obeyed. He took this list of sin and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ's cross." (Colossians 2:13,14, LBT)
In the day when this was written, "list of sins" meant an itemized bond nailed to the prison door. It listed every crime for which the prisoner had been convicted. When the sentence was served or restitution was paid, the authorities would remove the list and write, "paid in full." The prisoner used this as proof that he could never be tried for those crimes again. The believer who trusts Christ's payment for sin can never be tried again. His sins have been "paid in full." He has full pardon from God.
"He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:10-12)
You can experience God's love and forgiveness every day
Even though you are totally forgiven, you still need to deal with your sins on a day-to-day basis in order to experience continuing fellowship with God.
1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
Confession: Agreeing with God about sin
When God brings to your attention that something you have done is sin, confess it. This confession involves at least three factors:
- Agree with God that you have sinned.
- Thank God that He has already forgiven you.
- Trust God to change your wrong attitude and actions.
By turning back to God and away from your sin (repentance), you will experience His love and forgiveness provided by Christ's death on the cross. Instead of feeling guilty or condemned, you can know that your fellowship with God is restored.
Confession: Putting it into practice
Right now or tonight before you go to bed:
- Ask God to reveal any sins in your life.
- List these on a piece of paper. Be honest; this is just between you and God.
- After completing your list, write over it the promise of 1 John 1:9 (written above).
- Thank God for the forgiveness He has provided for you through what Christ did on the cross.
- Tear up the list and throw it away.
Confession: Experiencing the result
"Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord' -- and You forgave the guilt of my sin." (Psalm 32:5)
"....as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us."
Understanding God's great love and forgiveness allows Christians to enjoy growing fellowship with Him.
You can respond to the questions below to journey with a mentor and receive prayer. You'll be able to talk through what you have learned.